Unilever suspends Facebook and Twitter advertising through 'at least' end of 2020

More than 90 marketers have paused their Facebook ads for the month of July or longer.

Unilever has become the latest company to boycott Facebook advertising. The CPG giant announced on Friday that it’s pausing all ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter throughout "at least" the end of the year.

"Given our Responsibility Framework and the polarized atmosphere in the U.S., we have decided that starting now through at least the end of the year, we will not run brand advertising in social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S. Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society. We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary," the company said in a statement.

The statement added that Unilever will maintain its planned media investment in America by shifting spend to other media.

According to CNBC, Facebook and Twitter shares both fell more than 7 per cent after the Unilever announcement.

"Through [the Unilever Responsibility Framework], we are actively engaging with all digital platforms to make meaningful change and impact trust and transparency," Unilever’s statement says.

It adds: "We have made substantial progress, and we acknowledge the efforts of our partners, but there is much more to be done, especially in the areas of divisiveness and hate speech during this polarized election period in the U.S. The complexities of the current cultural landscape have placed a renewed responsibility on brands to learn, respond and act to drive a trusted and safe digital ecosystem."

Last week, a group of six US organisations called for marketers to stop advertising on Facebook throughout July due to the social network’s lack of control and policing of hate speech on its platform. The organisations include Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.

Since the call to action, more than 90 marketers have halted Facebook advertising, such as Verizon, Patagonia, REI, Lending Club, The North Face and Ben & Jerry’s. More brands, incuding Diageo, Starbucks and Levi’s, pulled spending over the weekend.

Earlier this week, Procter & Gamble chief brand officer Marc Pritchard told Campaign that it will consider pulling its Facebook advertising if it decides the social platform’s standards are allowing for "hateful, discriminatory or denigrating" content.

A version of this article first appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign.

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